Working Group 1 Virtual Town Hall: Attorney-Client Privilege and Dual-Purpose Communications after In re Grand Jury

Tuesday, June 27, 2023 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm

Location: Online (Zoom)

Time: 3 to 4:30 p.m. EDT

Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court issued a nondecision in the matter of In re Grand Jury (Docket No. 21-1397), a case in which the Court was poised to resolve a circuit split between the Ninth and D.C. Circuits related to the applicability of the attorney-client privilege to so-called “dual purpose” communications—those that include intertwined legal and nonlegal (typically, a business) purposes. The case had been fully briefed and argued before the Court, and more than a dozen organizations had filed amicus briefs in the matter. The Court’s one-sentence order, which was issued just two weeks after argument was heard, stated simply that the writ of certiorari was “dismissed as improvidently granted.” The Supreme Court’s “DIG” of In re Grand Jury leaves the matter in the same posture as though certiorari had never been granted. 

Accordingly, the circuit split remains –- namely whether courts should use the “the primary-purpose” test to determine whether dual-purpose communications are protected by the attorney-client privilege (as opposed to "a primary-purpose"). This open question has potentially far-reaching implications for a number of industries where the line between legal and business advice is often blurred, and parties continue to lack the clarity and predictability in how to approach these thorny privilege issues.

In this upcoming Sedona Conference Town Hall discussion, an experienced panel will discuss the Supreme Court’s DIG of In re Grand Jury, explore the significance of the unresolved circuit split on this important question for courts, practitioners, and parties, and provide practical guidance to help the legal community take steps to protect dual purpose communications that may be properly privileged.

The Town Hall will begin with an overview discussion among our dialogue leaders. The audience will then have an opportunity to discuss and brainstorm on the topic both collectively and in smaller breakout sessions. Takeaways and action items will be noted and shared with all to inform the ongoing mission of WG1 and guide its future publication projects.

Participation is free to all current Working Group Series members, but advance registration is required. Registrants will receive a Zoom invitation and instructions two days before the event.

Dialogue Leaders

U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, PA, USA


Washington, DC, USA

Bradley Arant Boalt Cummings LLP

Nashville, TN, USA

Irpino Avin Hawkins

New Orleans, LA, USA


Washington, DC, USA